Breaking News

World’s Widest Bridge is Shut Down As Ice Bombs Rain Down on Drivers

When The Port Mann Bridge opened in British  Columbia earlier this month, it was supposed to slash commuting  times up to an hour.

But barely three weeks later the bridge has  closed down when massive chunks of ice fell off the bridge’s high cables and  plummeted onto drivers below – causing injuries and thousands of dollars worth  of damage.

At ten lanes, the bridge is the widest in the  world and the second longest in North America.

But outraged drivers are saying they’d rather  have a leaner bridge without the hazards.

Real estate agent Simon Lu was caught in the  assault of when a boulder of ice shattered his windshield.

‘I just couldn’t believe what just happened,’  he said. ‘I was a  little bit shocked at first. I didn’t stop the car. I just  kept  driving.’

The 31-year-old managed to get off the bridge  without further incident.

Even British Columbia’s transportation  minister, Mary Polak, slammed the bridge’s builders, Kiewit-Flatiron  General Partnership, insisting ‘taxpayers  will not be on the hook for this.’

‘We will not live with the  bridge in that way,’ Mary Polak said in a news conference Thursday.

‘When you purchase a product in  a store, when you build a bridge for $3.3  billion, you believe that it will  work. You expect it will work. When it doesn’t work you seek for redress to  that. You seek for someone to  refund your money or you seek for someone to  resolve the problem.’

Polak said snow and ice concerns  were specifically mentioned as potential problems before the bridge was built  and that the construction contract included specifications to address those very  issues.

‘Clearly, what we saw yesterday  shows that they did not meet those requirements,’ she said.

Kiewit-Flatiron General  Partnership insisted it was working to solve the problem in a written public  statement.

‘We’re very concerned  about the  recent weather issues impacting motorists on the Port Mann  Bridge,’ said the  statement from Thomas Janssen, director of external  affairs for the company.  ‘With the recent severe weather conditions, it’s evident there is an issue that  needs to be closely reviewed and addressed.’

More than 100 insurance claims  were filed by commuters after chunks of ice smashed down onto vehicles from the  bridge’s suspension cables during a Wednesday snowstorm.

Vehicles sustained a variety of  damages from shattered windows and windshields to devastating body damage.

Two were injured and the bridge  was closed for hours.

The Crown agency operating the  bridge will pay the deductibles of drivers who’s cars were damaged on the bridge  and tolls for anyone crossing between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday will be  waived.

The 10-lane Port Mann Bridge took three years  to construct at a cost of more than $3 billion.

Cold weather, humidity,  precipitation, and wind all contributed to the ice formation on top of the  cables.

After the ice bonds to the cold  cables, high winds start a vibration on the cables that knocks the ice loose.

Adding to the disaster in  Vancouver’s temperature fluctuations from cold to warm, causing ice to break off  in heavy chunks while melting.

The bridge has now reopened to  traffic but nothing has been done to prevent a repeat of Wednesday’s disaster if  a severe winter storm hits.

Source: The Daily Mail

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Posted by on December 23, 2012. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.